Angling Trust

Update from British Record (rod-caught) Fish Committee

The BRFC met at The Natural History Museum on the 8th of June 2023.

Present were: Stephen Mardlin MBE (Chairman), Oliver Crimmen (Scientific Advisor, Natural History Museum), Andrew Nellist (Freshwater Specialist), Paul Coulson (Freshwater Specialist) and Nick Simmonds (Secretary). David Craig (Ireland representative), Dr Phill Williams (Marine Specialist) and Mat Mander (Marine Specialist) attended remotely by internet link.

The committee welcomed a new member, James Maclaine. James is a Senior Fish Curator at the Natural History Museum and joins the BRFC as a Scientific Advisor specialising in marine fishes. James comes on recommendation from his colleague and our current Marine Scientific Advisor, Oliver Crimmen, also a Senior Fish Curator with the Natural History Museum.

Oliver is likely to be retiring from the BRFC in the next year or so and James has kindly agreed to continue the vital work which Oliver has diligently and enthusiastically contributed for many years.
The primary role of our Scientific Advisors (we have a Freshwater Advisor too) is to confirm (or not) the identification of fish species presented to the BRFC as potential record captures. Connections such as this, with expert professionals in their field, provide impeccable integrity to the record fish listings and species identification is never confirmed without certainty.

Long-serving member of the BRFC, Andy Nellist was elected as Vice-Chairman, a previously unfilled role.

The BRFC has for some time been considering introducing an alternative record listing for sea fishes which have not been, or cannot legally be weighed on land. BRFC protocol does not accept weighing scale readings taken on board a boat because of the difficulty in obtaining an accurate weight reading in those circumstances, so it has been agreed that the BRFC will introduce length-based record listings for sea fish (both boat- and shore-caught) to be maintained in parallel with the existing weight-based records, which may still be claimed when appropriate.

The BRFC sub-committee which has formulated the basis of this new approach will shortly be finalising the procedures for measuring fish and the protocols for evidencing the capture and provision of adequate images to allow for definitive identification of species where possible.

A video will be produced to help demonstrate the measuring process and will be made widely available. Further communications about the BRFC’s length-based sea-fish record listings will be issued in due course.

The committee considered and accepted the following record claim as being duly ratified:

  • Blue-mouth (Helicolenus dactyloptorus), caught by Shaun Quartly from the shore at Minehead, Somerset, on 10th February 2023. Shaun’s unusual catch was ratified for the record list at 5 ounces and 14 drams.

The Committee would like to remind readers that in the event of the capture of a potential record fish, the captor should first contact the British Record (rod-caught) Fish Committee without delay.
Captors of potential record fish should contact the Secretary, Nick Simmonds, at the Angling Trust, on 01568 620447 or by email at [email protected]
Nick will record the details of the capture and advise the claimant on progressing the claim.

  • More information about what to do if you catch a record fish can be found in the BRFC pages of the Angling Trust website.

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